Where Shall We Go For Dinner: A Food Romance by Tamasin Day-Lewis

I have a number of Tamasin Day-Lewis’s cookery books on my shelves and they are wonderful. Books to wonder at the wonderful images and quality writing, as well as an excellent source of recipes.

I think it would be fair to say that she is one of the heirs of Elizabeth David – a champion of organic, seasonal and regional ingredients.

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I have enjoyed her writing in a number of magazines too and so when I discovered, courstesy of Linda, that she had written a memoir, I had to track down a copy.

The book was originally planned as an account of Tamasin’s year travelling with her American partner Rob, but it expanded to take in memories of her life with food too. And so this is an interesting melange of travelogue, memoir and recipe book.

And in many ways it succeeds. The recipes are of a high standard, the stories are varied, and there are moments when the writing about food is an absolute joy.

” I learned how to spike the sacraficial legs of lamb with slivers of garlic and stubs of fresh rosemary, which Serena cooked at nuclear temperatures until pink, and rested under silver foil and tea towels until the juices penetrated back through the meat. I whisked the batter for Yorkshires, then left it covered under a damp cloth, became acquainted with the sweet starchiness of roast parsnips that we never had at home, and which she always par-boiled with the roast potatoes. I wrote down notes for her buttery puree of mashed swede and carrot and her moire soignee carrots Vichy; for gravy flavoured with some sliced onion on which Serena always bedded the joint down before roasting it, which caramelised and blackened in the pan; for a perfectly sharp, light lemon mousse, that was at the time a la mode.”

“Our trip last year in the early autumn convinced us that every season in the Langhe is about a handful of dishes: a breathtakingly simple carpaccio of veal; a homemade tagliatelle with fresh porcini from the surrounding woods; the first white truffles, their raw scent seeping from the rich cream, butter, eggs or rice; cinghiale, rich, dark and braised to tenderness with a square of soft, sloppy, golden polenta to soak its juices into beneath; the last of the local white peaches or hazelnuts pounded into a paste and baked into an intensely flavoured torta di niccoliola from the nuts in the hazel groves where dogs and there owners dig secretly fro hidden troves of the mighty white truffle.”

Where Shall We Go For Dinner

When she writes like this Tamasin Day-Lewis is wonderful, but I’m afraid she has her failings too. She is a terrible name-dropper and she seemingly unaware of just how privileged she is. And there are moments when I felt the same way that I do when I am being talked at by someone who is completely oblivious to my response or the fact that I might have something to say too. Not good!

In cookery terms I would say this book was a lovely recipe with some wonderful ingredients spoiled by the wrong seasonings.

But I’ll put this behind me and hold on to my love for her recipes, her cookery books and her food writing!

Library Loot

I two big books of my own in progress (Little Dorritt and The Tale of Genjii), so I wasn’t looking to bring too much home from the library this week. But I couldn’t not go in (it’s theraputic at the end of the day!) and I couldn’t come away completely empty-handed. There were a lot of great books on the shelves, but I was very restrained and only came away with three. Here they are:

Leaving The World

Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy

“On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents – she would never get married and she would never have children. But life, as Jane comes to discover, is a profoundly random business. Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then Jane falls pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise – but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world. Just when she has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for some sort of personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision – stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth.”

I was a lttle disappointed in Doulas Kennedy’s last couple of books, so I studied this one carefully before making a decision. The synopsis suggested that it could be a return to form, so home it came.

Uncle Montague

Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley

“Uncle Montague lives alone in a big house and his regular visits from his nephew give him the opportunity to relive some of the most frightening stories he knows. But as the stories unfold, a newer and more surprising narrative emerges, one that is perhaps the most frightening of all. “Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror”, it transpires, are not so much works of imagination as dreadful lurking memories. Memories of an earlier time in which Uncle Montague lived a very different life to his present solitary existence.”

Staci of Life in the Thumb reads a lot of great Young Adult books, and she inspired we to take a look in the section of my library. This book caught my eye and I though a few short scary tales would contrast nicely with my other reading. Thank you Staci!

Where Shall We Go For Dinner

Where Shall We Go For Dinner?: A Food Romance by Tamasin Day-Lewis

“Sharing a good dinner is one of the chief pleasures of life. This is a year of travel and culinary discovery, part memoir, part love story, but the glue that holds it together is food, a shared passion, if not obsession. Tamasin and her companion Rob set out with no real plan for the forthcoming year other than that each trip offers the possibility of perfection and discovery of something new. Whether investigating the food scene in San Francisco, sipping a cocktail in Venice, or walking down Sullivan St in New York to dine on fried chicken at the Blue Ribbon, they always set out in hope of the perfect dinner. They may find it at a small cafe in the hills of Santo Stefano Belbo in Piemonte, or snacking on falafel in a warm wad of pitta bread at Mamoun’s, a hole in the wall in Greenwich Village. Sometimes they try too hard and don’t find it at all, but even the disappointment is food for thought…and there is always tomorrow.”

I love Tamasin Day-Lewis’s writing and I have a few of her cookery books, but I wasn’t aware of this book until Belle of Ms Bookish included it in her Library Loot last week. It looked wonderful, so I ordered it staight away and it appeares on the reservations shelf just two days later. So thanks are due to both Belle and the Cornish Library Service!


So have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

And what did you find in the library this week?

See more Library Loot here.